It’s been ten years since Mike Holmgren’s final season as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle had entered the 2008 campaign having won the NFC West for the fourth straight year, winning the 2007 race with a 10-6 record before bowing out in the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers. That game was famous for Seattle starting out with a 14-0 lead and getting boatraced the rest of the afternoon. Had Seattle won that game, they would’ve hosted the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game, with the chance to play the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Oh what could’ve been.
Preseason expectations had Seattle as the favorite to win the NFC West one more time, but not to necessarily be contenders. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated predicted 9-7. Bleacher Report also went for Seattle, but did say “If the Seattle Seahawks played in any other division, it’s unlikely they’d still be able to scoot by and win the division year after year with so many injury problems.” The folks at Walter Football also predicted 9-7. Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic had the Seahawks at 9-7 and 10-6 respectively, although Greenberg correctly predicted the Arizona Cardinals would usurp Seattle atop the NFC West crown. Concern seem warranted given Deion Branch tore his ACL in that Packers playoff loss, and the decline of the offensive line and running game were major problems.
As longtime Seahawks fans may recall, 2008 was a disaster. Matt Hasselbeck aged 15 years overnight. Shaun Alexander’s replacement was Julius Jones, who maxed out on touchdowns by the third game of the season. Walter Jones was a shell of himself and effectively sent into retirement after DeMarcus Ware turned him into a turnstile on Thanksgiving Day. The defense was absolutely inept and gave birth to the Brian Russell memes of yesteryear. They lost a game in which then-San Francisco 49ers QB JT O’Sullivan was sacked eight times. Seattle finished with a 4-12 record, and that was the emphatic end to the Seahawks’ Super Bowl window in the Holmgren era. Injuries in particular decimated the wide receiver position, and Seattle lost five games by six points or less. It wasn’t all terrible, as the Seahawks upset the New York Jets 13-3 at a snowy Qwest Field to make Coach Holmgren’s home finale a memorable one.
Koren Robinson also broke the franchise record for longest touchdown reception. Yup. Koren Robinson. Listen to how loud the crowd was even though Seattle entered this game 2-5.
As we count down the days until the 2018 Seahawks look to prove the naysayers wrong and return to championship contender form, I want to know from Seahawks fans what you remembered about the ‘08 campaign. How did you feel about the future of the franchise after the 16th and final game was played? In hindsight, 2008 was so awful that Jim Mora managing an arguably worse team in 2009 meant that everyone of importance had to go, including general manager Tim Ruskell. Seattle had peaked in 2005 and weren’t any better after that. They had to go from pretty damn close to rock bottom in order to get to the top again, and we know what the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era has brought us, even with the initial skepticism. I doubt many were that optimistic beforehand, though.
Discuss away. Sometimes it’s good to look back at the bad times when juxtaposed to what we now consider a disappointment, which is a 9-7 season and just one game out of a final playoff spot.